TimelineMaps

Follow us through the World War I centennial on Follow wwitoday on Twitter

German Imperial Navy

A squadron of the %+%Organization%m%57%n%German Imperial Navy%-% under the eye of a Zeppelin off the North Sea island and port of %+%Location%m%54%n%Helgoland%-%.
Text:
Deutscher Geschwader vor Helgoland
German squadron off Heligoland
Logo, bottom left: M Dieterle, Kiel
bottom right: PH 125
Handwritten: 1915
Reverse:
Verlag: M Dieterle, Kiel.

A squadron of the German Imperial Navy under the eye of a Zeppelin off the North Sea island and port of Helgoland.

Image text

Deutscher Geschwader vor Helgoland

German squadron off Heligoland

Logo, bottom left: M Dieterle, Kiel

bottom right: PH 125

Handwritten: 1915

Reverse:

Verlag: M Dieterle, Kiel.

Other views: Larger, Larger

Kaiser Wilhelm appointed Alfred von Tirpitz head of the Imperial Naval Office in 1897 to spearhead the expansion of the German Navy, and oversaw widening, completed in 1914, of the Wilhelm Canal allowing Germany's new Dreadnought-size battleships to pass readily between the North and Baltic Seas. Ports included Kiel, Helgoland, and Cuxhaven.

The British Royal Navy was on maneuvers in the North Sea in July 1914, and remained there, effectively controlling it when war came. With a weaker surface fleet, Germany demonstrated its threat to Britain on September 22 when a German submarine sank three British armored cruisers. The British virtually abandoned the North Sea for a time, allowing German ships to shell towns on the English coast.

The Entente Allies rapidly stripped Germany of its colonies in 1914, and hunted down its surface fleet including the South Seas Squadron. Fearful of directly engaging the British fleet, Tirpitz kept his ships in port.

Germany's submarine fleet carried on the war. Germany's first period of unrestricted submarine warfare ended after the May 1915 sinking of the Lusitania which threatened to bring the United States into the war.

His fleet idle, Kaiser Wilhelm accepted von Tirpitz's resignation on March 15, 1916. Taking a more aggressive stance, his replacement, von Holtzendorff, sought out the British fleet and met it in the Battle of Jutland on May 31. Although Germany could claim a victory in the battle, it did not further actively pursue a surface war.

In September 1916, Germany again decided on unrestricted submarine warfare although this risked bringing America into the war.

On October 29, 1918 Mutiny.

Organizations within German Imperial Navy (1)

Click to View
German High Seas Fleet